Jul 292013
 
Habits do make (or break) you ...

… in this case, financially.

I recently came upon a post in social media-land that made me stop, read, bookmark it, print it off, and begin to share w/ others.  That’s saying something, in a virtual oasis of information that never ends! There is so much information out there in our modern world, much of which eludes our eyeballs. In many cases, this is for the better, since the information is of 90% (below par) quality per Sturgeon’s Law (Five Levels of Decline/FLD), however, I’d say what I’m going to reference and point the readers to below fits into the 10%.

What do the rich do daily that leads them to financial success that the unsuccessful don’t? Mr. Corley+ lists 20 separate things (see below URL/link for the citation). For the purposes of this post, am going to pick several of them that stood out to me based on my ongoing personal/professional/leadership journeys.

First, let’s use a disclaimer. If you listen to too many politicians, or those who lack results, you may think that the rich are to be disdained. Certainly, some of them lack people skills and don’t properly manage their wealth/good fortune; others earned it through less than admirable means; and a small handful inherited their money, and likely have zero per cent appreciation for where it came from. Put these 3 categories aside. This post has nothing at all to do w/ them.

Onto the list >>>>>>>>>

First:  63% of the wealthy listen to audio books during their commute v. 5% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. I used to be part of the latter. Now, I always use my vehicle and commute time, regardless of time spent (3 min. drive, or many hours) as a rolling university. Over the past 3 years, I’ve listened to somewhere b/w 500 and 1,000 audios, inc. numerous books. What it’s done for my thinking, habits, and results is very clear.

Second: 88% of the wealthy read 30 mins. or more each day for education / career reasons v. 2% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. Again, I was part of the latter. I would read a book here & there, usually a political ‘screed’ that just made me angry at one politician, party, or law, or sometimes a fiction book. Now, I read from many different genres: I presently have 4 books in progress:  1 economics; 1 finances; 1 leadership/history; and 1 human relations/people skills. And, over the past 3+ years, I’ve read over 100 different books, several of them multiple times. Again, the difference that it’s made is beyond obvious.

Third: 67% of wealthy watch one/1 hour or less of TV/daily v. 23% for poor.

* Personal testimonial. Up until 2 1/2 years ago, I watched (or had in the background for sound) roughly 4 hours of TV most days, and sometimes, 8-12 hours if I was home and didn’t have anything else to do. (!?!?!) – and in that time, my financial success was very limited. Programming, advertising/PR, and marketing only encourage consumption and you’d have to search far and long to find anything on the tube that teaches wealth principles. Now, I watch zero hours of TV/day, and with very limited exceptions due to the mobile web & the internet, I do not miss it. And, I’ve learned a ton of principles, lessons, and nuggets that will lead to far better financial results.

Fourth: 79% of the wealthy network 5/five or more hours/month v. 16% of the poor.

* Personal testimonial. The value add for focused networking is unquestioned. Meeting new people leads to bigger networks, and in the connected age in which we live ( read Godin and Gladwell to better understand. ), this is a crucial component of growing wealth. I used to watch all that TV — see above — and my circles of influence were stagnant. Now, I have stacks of business cards, numerous new friends, and I am out there at various events on a recurring basis.

Fifth [ and last, for this post. ] : 86% of wealthy folks believe in life-long educational self improvement vs. 5% for poor folks.

* Personal testimonial. This is tough to hear for those who have minds that are finite – perhaps they made excuses for their situation; or, they believe that their credentials (degrees, certifications) mean they have “arrived” and there’s nothing else to know/learn; or, they have a fixed mindset (instead of one of growth). Any of these can easily be overcome, however, it will take changing the information at the front end x increasing humility x adding honeability. Toss in a bonus of understanding the crucial difference between investment and expense, and you will easily grasp that learning and deep seated education, which is often self-directed, never ends. ‘What we know is but a drop, and what we don’t know is an ocean.’

 

I hope you, the reader, found this post to be very insightful!  Learn from it, and make the changes right away – don’t “try” them, just “do” them!   All the best at all times!

——-

+ http://www.richhabitsinstitute.com/ = Mr. Corley’s site ( the article URL was cited by Dave Ramsey )

May 032013
 
Service > self

Service.

Self.

Two distinct words.

Yet, how often do we put them in order of what we want vs. what others could benefit by?

Far too often — especially if you live your days in the mass media/consumerist culture.

Changing this at its roots requires heart, mind, and will, all fused together. Can it be done? Absolutely; I am living proof that it can transform a life.

How did I do it?  Or, better phrased: How am I continuing to get better at it?

The answer is that I am purposeful in what I allow to enter my mind. Your thinking is the lever of your life; if you let your thinking go south, let alone take your own advice, or the advice/opinions of those who don’t have the results/success which you strive for, you’ve lost a battle. Does this mean that the war is lost too?  Not in the least!  Just go back to your “trip point“, which is the information. Information changes lives. Undoubtedly.

Service can be defined so many ways; one way that it can be framed is in the context of servant leadership. When you understand leadership as equaling influence, you know that by being a servant, and putting service ahead of self, you’ve blessed someone else. Ego must be subservient to excellence, just in the same way as service > self.

Self -focus is caused by a society/culture which glorifies success in a mis-defined manner:  By the love of money ( as money is not the root of all evil; the love of it is); by characterizing success as financial (“being rich“) only; by what the celebrities & sports stars are doing; or even by encouraging competition ahead of community/interdependent ( ‘Law of the Inner Circle‘ , ‘Level 4‘ thinking.)

Going back to the information as the root source leading to the lever going up (service) or down (self) — it does require humility/humble-ness, hone-ability, a lack of self-deception, and courage to want to take steps to change the information flow. Here in the connected/internet/info age, information is beyond plentiful; it is all encompassing!  It surrounds us like a cocoon, and if we aren’t perceptive, it can impact our thinking in mere seconds. Think of how your mood changes by listening to a negative source, such as the TV news; why would you constantly shovel snow ONTO your grass when you could use your snow blower to REMOVE it?  This is analagous to letting bad/un-edifying/uplifting info into your head when you could turn it off.

Be a blessing to others by serving them. Think of how you felt when you volunteered at a charitable event, or when you donated monies, or when you helped at your church , or when you stepped up to help a neighbor in need. That’s obviously putting service before self, and doing this consistently can be encouraged by starting at the information ‘step’, and observing the changes in your thinking over time.

Thank you for reading, and all the very best in the days ahead!

Dec 232012
 

Culture. That word alone can be the theme of an entire book!  So, suffice to say, I will not be delving in too deeply, just skirting the word’s meaning/definition and tying it into the words ‘credential’ (-ist) & ‘consumer’ to form the core of this pre-Christmas post.

As the West has always faced its share of challenges, two of these are much more recent, and perhaps have eluded the radar of many citizens, those being the rise of an overly credentialist and consumerist culture. What are the definitions & tell-tale signs of each, one might ask?

Credentialist:  Someone who believes that they are an expert, and knows all there is to know based strictly on having various paper-based, classroom-focused credentials, whether a B.A., B.S., M.A., M.B.A., J.D. or post doctoral coursework.  A person(s) who believes he/she/they can make decisions for others who may not have as much schooling*

Consumerist:   A person(s) who, incidentally or otherwise, puts consumption of goods & services ahead of production; Someone whom does not anchor their consumption to what they can actually afford based on their production, but rather, uses credit to expand their income beyond their means to pay in the present without selling off their future; lastly, someone who does not know, understand, or ignores the vast difference between expenses & investment.

Here’s why I believe both of these to be challenges that require a firm and even-handed response:  Both are acting together, and in some cases separately, to erode the foundations of free enterprise and the traditions of the West which brought countries like the United States and Canada unprecedented prosperity.  How so, one might ask?

First, while I’d not say there is anything wrong with classroom based schooling, there is something wrong when men & women get credentials and any of these happen thereafter:

1. He/she/they cannot find a stable career that pays back the time spent in earning the credential(s)

2. The credential offering institution does not focus on entrepreneurship as a way forward.

3. The schooling leads to thinking which does not offer the student(s) the mindset to know and understand “How” to think, rather than just “what” and/or “when”.

4. The debt burden for attaining the credential(s) puts the student in financial bondage.

5. The credentials lead to a way of thought that says “I earned “X” , therefore I am smarter than you” and I am immediately qualified to make decisions for everyone else.

6. The schooling does not recognize or teach that values like creativity, tenacity, innovation, humility, character, & purpose matter, and always will matter.

Second, while every one of us is a consumer of goods & services, putting consumerism on a shelf and almost considering it a religion to be worshipped, that is where the common, every day need to consume crosses over into the challenge for us to recognize, face, & counter-act. Here’s why this matters:

1. Consumerist culture alone pushes too many citizens into financial bondage to credit card companies, banks, leasing agencies/firms, marketers, advertisers, & Hollywood/NY/Miami celebrity trends.

2. Seed corn/wheat is a metaphor for having money always available to invest in oneself. (no, I’m not talking about 401(k)s and stocks) – when one is a consumer above most/all else, he/she often not only has no seed in reserve, but actually OWES seed to someone else — i.e., a bank!

3. Compound interest is the 8th Wonder of the World in some respects, and not only does it have such a label, it is also, sadly, a mystery to the majority of citizens, who haven’t had financial education in the K-12 (conveyor belt) schooling (and often not much more, if any, in undergrad or graduate professional track curriculum)

4. Consumerism often puts pleasure and short term thinking well ahead of happiness and mid to long term vision.

5. Being that there is a gigantic difference between investment & expense, it is crucial to grasp the concept of delayed gratification, and how buying books, listening to audios, attending seminars & conventions, and the like is an investment in one’s MIND, and therefore, has a return that cannot be measured in mere dollars and cents alone. Expenses come and go out of one’s wallet, and often draw a person(s) into bondage to others, especially if compound interest is involved, without the same return.

6. There is nothing at all amiss with having fun, and entertaining oneself; however, restoration and serving others is far more valuable than just spending money to have temporary fun, esp. if its seed wheat, on something that is often not remembered even a week later.

To bring these both together and tie to the response needed to counter-act the challenges posed, I offer up some thoughts, and some references to other sources.

Response A : Read. History will show that many many great men & women did not have so much schooling, yet they were highly educated. If you don’t read much, or at all now, start small:  15-20 mins./day-night, and build a habit. Trade those 15-20 for wasted time already in your day:  while waiting for an appointment; while (in park!!) in a traffic jam; by turning off the radio or TV in a 1:1 ratio to time spent in a book.

Response B : Listen. Audios (CD, mp3, vid clips, webinars) are golden. Learn from someone else’s experience(s) – especially someone who may not have any press clippings, however, he/she has the ‘fruit on the tree’ and has earned the responsibility to lead, and thus is worth following.

Response C : Associate positively. One can spend time most anywhere and for any amount of time, yet, is it in an environment where education is primary, and does it encourage personal growth and change that will ripple outwards into society?

Response D : Pay it forward/Serve others. If you have read a great book, listened to a fantastic audio, or been to an event that inspired you to find your purpose, sharpened your vision, and taught you principles and not pragmatism, bring someone else with you next time!  Give that book or audio to a friend(s) who may be struggling with life’s circumstances.

Response E : Do not confuse schooling and education. Being in school is one thing, but is the student coming out on the other end of the tunnel with an education?  Therefore, look into a self-directed/liber education, and understand how many in the West had just such an education and changed the world ( Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Franklin, et al. )

Response F : Use an acronym like “Y-D-I-L” as a financial education tool.  Y = You, Inc. Invest in your mind first, always. D = Debt. Pay off all consumer debt as quickly as you can, ahead of saving or investing in non mental things. I = Investment. This is the classic type of investment that the conventional wisdom teaches; nothing wrong with it, however, it comes after the first two letters. L = Lifestyle. Be a consumer last. Of course, you have to eat and buy clothes, and shop for a place to live with a roof; otherwise, never let an advertiser, PR specialist, the mass media, or a celebrity/sports star convince you to part with your hard earned income to “look like” him/her/them.

Response G : Understand the value of production. Study, think like, and learn from entrepreneurs. Even better, become an entrepreneur!  What you learn from the transition from employee-ship type thought to ownership type thought is priceless; there’s no dollar value that can be placed – it is that important to the future of our culture and the restoral of the Western world that reigned supreme for centuries.

 

Nothing but the best to one & all. May you find your North Star, and put service ahead of self!  Blessings & good will to my readers. 🙂